You posted this in the wrong forum. It should have been "Ask a Teacher".
Student or Learner
I dont really understand the underlined phrase of this sentence: "Although scientists have long suspected this to be the case, the new study is said to be one of the first to put some hard data to the idea."
The whole article can be found here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3123921.stm
Does it mean: "data supports the idea"?